Converge By Expressions Dance Company Review @ Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 12 March 2018 15:52
Published in Arts News  
'Converge' 'Converge'

Continuing Expressions Dance Company's (EDC) long tradition of original collaborations between live musicians, composers and dancers EDC’s latest programme 'Converge' features four new works from four of Australasia's hottest young choreographers working with emerging composers from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

This bold and exciting new programme breaks fresh ground in contemporary dance with offerings from Beijing Dance LDTX's Xu Yiming, EDC ensemble members Richard Causer and Jake McLarnon, and Stephanie Lake (who EDC fans will remember from last years’ 'Mozart Airborne'). Whatever your existing ideas of dance are, they will be challenged in some way by each of these works.

Image © FenLan Chuang

The opening work 'Ceremony' is from the well-established Melbourne choreographer and dancer Stephanie Lake, who has crafted an inspiring and deft piece supported by an eclectic choice of music including the well-known 'Music For Pieces Of Wood' by Steve Reich. In Stephanie’s automated world, we see the six dancers respond to the music in an almost robotic routine as they explore the polyrhythmic world of machinery. Each of the dancers move independently with intricate hand movements and astonishing physical manoeuvres as the rhythms accumulate and multiply. It’s an exhilarating ensemble piece that switches gears from moment to moment. Alana Sargent, a former member of Sydney Dance Company was particularly impressive and her star is sure to rise. Apart from being an accomplished performer, Alana is also a costume designer and created all the costumes for the season.

It was clear from the audience response that many were there to see Richard Causer’s latest choreographic offering – 'Imposters'. Richard has been with EDC since 2006 and is widely recognised as someone to watch. Not surprisingly he has been nominated for a string of awards and his latest piece shows outstanding originality and creativity. The music, composed by Isabella Gerometta, Padraig Parkhurst and Michal Rosiak was the perfect accompaniment to this work and Causer’s use of lighting and props to express the theme of human identity and the way our layered personalities are exposed to others was simply stunning. In a nutshell we’re all imposters sharing only those traits we want others to see.

Image © FenLan Chuang

'Isochronism', the title of Jake McLarnon’s choreographic debut had me puzzled but a quick search on Google gave me an insight. In layman's language, a pendulum or balance that takes the same time to complete a swing – no matter how big the swing is, has the property of isochronism. Inspired by the free floating psychedelic artwork of Byron Bay artist Jasper Hills, Jake’s work was exquisitely executed by Scott Ewen and Jake himself – who was standing in for Isabella Hood. This beautifully performed duet showed enormous maturity, passion and sensitivity all of which was reflected in the original score by emerging composers Tanya Jones and Jarvis Miller.

Xu Yiming returns to EDC as part of the Chinese Australian Dance Exchange Project with his latest offering 'Aftermath'. For this season, Xu has created a thoughtful, meditative and uplifting piece for four dancers with Richard Causer, Elise May, Jag Popham and Alana Sargent sharing the stage in this haunting work. The score, a medley of compositions from the Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher, G. I. Gurdjieff and Russian composer, Thomas de Hartmann suited the gentle tone of the work.

Image © FenLan Chuang

Throughout the entire programme, the 16-piece orchestra, comprising students from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, provided the accompaniment to these daring new works. Ben Hughes’ lighting design is simply stunning and his use of washes and silhouettes helped bring life to each of the choreographer’s artistic vision.

Natalie Weir, EDC’s Artistic Director said that 'Converge' was an important platform for emerging choreographers and composers – allowing the next generation of dance makers the opportunity to develop their unique artistic perspectives. 'Converge' clearly delivers on this vision. Don’t miss it.

'Converge' plays Queensland Conservatorium Theatre until 17 March.


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